Once again we made our way to Turnout in Belgium to ride the Strada Campina. Last years ride was a total blast but with the change of course and the diverse weather conditions that were predicted who knows what we were in for.
From the moment we arrived we couldn’t have been made more welcome even if it was rather damp and grey. The sun was trying to make an appearance but the ever looming rain and hail never seemed far away. This year you had the chance to tackle four different courses depending on how far and how hard you wanted to ride.
We started out with thoughts of the 200km but thanks to the folks at Strada Campina that had ways that you could cut it short should you need to. With various feed stations along the route depending on which course you decided to tackle you would all meet up at the final feed station and head back to the start.
Soon after setting off in the glorious sunshine clouds started to gather but so far, so good and we pushed on through dirt tracks and country roads. Even though there are various sections of smooth tarmac linking the gravel and single track sections they are few and far between and often a welcome break and a time to catch up and talk.
Phil, with whom I have riding in Belgium on numerous occasions, and I started putting the world to rights and we caught up on life and all that has gone on since our last adventure.
This is one ride where you are rewarded with by mud, sweat and beers!
With the thunder storms and hail starting to come down we were greeted by deep sand tracks that almost halted us in our tracks and a couple of other cyclist came down. Knowing how strong Belgium riders are at cyclo-cross you can see how they dance through the sand and handle it with ease.
The Schwalbe G-Ones I have been riding recently came into their own and the grip allowed be to push through no matter how deep and soggy it became.
Through out the day other cyclists came and went as the various different distance linked up. Some soaked due to the weather while other were covered in mud. This was probably the only issue for me due to having to protect my camera and not being able to take photographs.
Throughout the day, chasing the sun and dodging the bullet like hail Phil and I were dancing our way around what were amazing gravel tracks,
zig-zagging around in the deep rutted sand tracks, farm fields, stunning views and woodland trails. The new course couldn’t have been made any better and at almost every turn we had a laugh blasting our way through the region.
I have to say it was a whale of a time riding the Strada Campina, even the rain, thunder, hail and freezing headwind didn’t damped our spirits.
See you next year!